New year is a time to look back at the last year and look forward to the next. It is the same for everyone I suppose. A natural reflecting process.
On a farm it is a case of taking stock of births and deaths but then I suppose other people do that too but hopefully not on the scale it is here.
We moved to the farm in October 2012 so this New Year’s Eve is our second here (for me and Boo anyway) but really our first full year.
Any livestock farm will hopefully see many more births than deaths in a year and unless you count the tragic chicken deaths (by foxes) I think we have.
In April and May we had a birth almost every day whether it be calves or lambs and puppies later on.
We were like impromptu midwives and wet-nurses, pulling things out, feeding others.
Until I had my daughter in 2011, I didn’t really think about animals giving birth (apart from when Rosie the house dog had puppies). While I was in labour the nurses asked when
Daddy was arriving and I had to explain that two cows were also in labour and hoped they’d either get on with it quickly so he could come to me or hang on until the next day.
Thankfully, the cows selflessly hung on until the next day.
During lambing, my husband complained that he thought a sheep was struggling to give birth and he’d put his hand up but there was nothing. ‘Well she’s not dilated yet,’ I said like an expert. “Is she restless or quiet?” He said she was so I predicted there would be a lamb there in the morning and true to my word there was.
Since having the baby I feel like I’ve become some birthing expert.
Minty the lamb was born on Easter Sunday 2013 and as you all know us now a favourite member of the family along with the rest of the lambs-especially the ones we bottle-fed.
Then in May one of our dogs, Poppy had puppies and that was a lovely time. Who doesn’t like puppies? I quite weirdly love the smell of puppy breath but that’s me.
Sadly a few months after the pups left for their new homes, poor Poppy, despite numerous trips to the vet and hundreds of pounds spent on vet fees, passed away. She was a lovely dog and is sadly missed at the farm.
Rosie, our house dog, was banished outside for two weeks but, thanks to a successful internet campaign, she was bathed, de-flea-ed and brought back inside.
Clover the miniature lop bunny came to live with us at the end of summer and then Coco the so-called miniature-lop who is at least four times the size of Clover came to live with us too. We are still unsure of the sexes of both rabbits and, without babies, we still think they are both female but watch this space.
Next year I am obviously giving up drinking, eating and all other vices know to man-isn’t everyone?
I am also going to try to stick to a better food budget, grow some pumpkins to sell in the autumn, breed some bunnies and not get too attached to the animals-especially the lambs. On second thoughts, surely Minty needs a friend 🙂